Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The National Shrine of Divine Mercy at Marilao, Bulacan
"Providing a Serene Place of Worship for Pilgrims"
The first Eucharist was celebrated at the site on February 2, 1992, during the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, as the fitting tribute to Mother Mary for her intercession. Soon, the ground breaking of the Church site was held on April of that year in the presence of then Bishop of Malolos, Most Rev. Cirilo Almario, Jr. The ground was indeed fertile not only for the new Church building but for the new community of believers of the Divine Mercy. And so on November 30, 1994, the Parish of the Divine Mercy was formally established with Fr. Vic Robles as its first Parish Priest.
Five years later, on April 4, 1999, the Parish was declared as Diocesan Shrine by then Bishop of Malolos, Most Rev. Rolando Tria-Tirona who, together with the Council of Priests, approved such distinction due to the increasing number of pilgrims who flock the Divine Mercy Church. And three years later, it was given the status of a “National Shrine” by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) headed by its President Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, DD, OMI, on November 30, 2002. The multitude of devotees who attended that momentous event was in itself a confirmation of its well-deserved title.
After fifteen years of fruitful ministry at the Shrine, Fr. Vic Robles turned over the administration to the present Parish Priest in the person of Fr. Mar DJ. Arenas, in a rite presided by then Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Most Rev. Antonio Franco and Malolos Bishop, Most. Rev. Jose Oliveros on June 26, 2005. The new Parish Priest bowed to continue the propagation of the devotion vis-à-vis the pastoral management of the parish. In barely a year after his installation, he spearheaded the acquisition of additional parcels of land at the back of the Church. This makes the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy one of the largest Church sites in the Philippines with a land area close to five hectares.
To further enhance the Shrine’s mission to propagate and consolidate the Divine Mercy devotion in all dioceses and archdioceses in the country, Fr. Mar DJ Arenas assumed the position of Shrine Rector and National Director for Divine Mercy Apostolate in the Philippines on July 1, 2009. For this purpose, a Monthly TV Mass is regularly aired during the first Sunday of every other month and a weekly radio program at 3:00 every Friday in Radio Veritas entitled “DIVINE MERCY HOUR: Sa Awa ng Diyos”. The Parish publishes an official newsletter, PILGRIM (which stands for “People in Love Growing Rich in Mercy”), that is circulated quarterly to inform parishioners and pilgrims on the multi-faceted activities of the Shrine and the testimonies of people who have received healings and miracles.